MILAVIA > Aviation News Last updated: 9 October 2007
MILAVIA Military Aviation News - MILAVIA Military Aviation News
03 Oct 2007

First Merlin HC.3A Helicopters Unveiled at RAF Benson

The first two of six new Merlin Helicopters acquired from Denmark were unveiled at RAF Benson on Wednesday 3 October 2007, by Minister of State for Defence Equipment and Support Lord Drayson. The Minister also announced the establishment of a new RAF Merlin Squadron - 78 Squadron - to be based at Benson.

Prior to delivery the Merlins have been undergoing modifications by AgustaWestland in Yeovil to upgrade the aircraft to RAF standards, with operational enhancements and the latest BERP IV advanced rotor-blades which offer improvements to speed, range and lift capacity of the platform, and will give the hot-high performance needed to deploy to Afghanistan. The new standard is designated HC.3A.

The Danish EH101 Mk 512 Merlins were equipped with Directional Infra-Red Countermeasures, chin-mounted Forward Looking Infra-Red turret, Electronic Support Measures, Electronic Warfare Suite, Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System, secure digital intercommunications system and the RDR-1600 SAR Weather Aviodance Radar. Although so far only the RDR-1600 radar has been confirmed to be retained, this equipment would be well suited to the Special Ops role.

The six EH101 Merlins were originally bought by the Danish Government from AgustaWestland, four of which were configured for the SAR role. Before entering service in Denmark, it was agreed to transfer them to the UK in order to deliver a rapid increase in helicopters for the UK's operations. The UK MOD has entered into a contract with AgustaWestland to produce six new Merlin helicopters for Denmark as replacements for the six transferred.

The agreement with Denmark and AgustaWestland has a cost to the UK of £174.7m, including the airframes, some RAF specific modifications (including defensive aids), spares and new rotor-blades.

The existing RAF Merlin HC.3 fleet of 22 is currently operated by 28 (AC) Squadron from RAF Benson in Oxfordshire. A second Merlin Squadron, 78 Squadron, will be formed in December 2007 to operate the eight new HC.3A examples. At present crews are being trained for the new Squadron. The Merlin fleet will be split between the two Squadrons.

See also:
- <a href="" class="news">First ex-RDAF Merlin for RAF Arrived at RAF Benson (01 Aug) </a>
- <a href="" class="news">Danish Merlin Helicopters for RAF Arrive in UK (29 June 2007)</a>.
Source: UK MOD / AFM Oct07


4 March 2018 | IHS Jane's

USMC prepares for F-35B maiden operational embarkation

The US Marine Corps (USMC) is in the final stages of preparation for the first operational shipborne embarkation of the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), with the arrival of an advance detachment of aircraft on USS Wasp (LHD-1) on 5 March.

Read Full Article @ IHS Jane's 

1 March 2018 | Boeing

Boeing Receives U.S. Navy Contract to Modernize F/A-18 Super Hornet Fleet

Boeing has been awarded a contract to modernize the U.S. Navy F/A-18 fleet, extending the life of existing Super Hornets from 6,000 to 9,000+ flight hours. In the early 2020s, Boeing will begin installing initial updates to the aircraft that will convert existing Block II Super Hornets to a new Block III configuration.

Read Full Article @ Boeing 

23 February 2018 | MILAVIA News

Saab rolled out first GlobalEye AEW&C

Saab rolled out the first GlobalEye Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft at its Linköping site, Sweden. GlobalEye is an advanced, swing role airborne surveillance system based on a Global 6000 jet aircraft from Bombardier, which has undergone a thorough modification programme to adapt it for its role.

Read Full Article @ MILAVIA News 

22 February 2018 | IHS Jane's

Russian Su-57 fifth-gen fighter prototypes touch down in Syria

Key Points Two Russian Su-57 fifth-generation fighter prototypes have been deployed to Syria It is unclear what the real benefits of the deployment are The Russian Aerospace Forces (Vozdushno-Kosmicheskiye Sily: VKS) have deployed two Sukhoi Su-57 fifth-generation fighters to Humaymim Air Base in

Read Full Article @ IHS Jane's 

21 February 2018 | USAF News

JB San Antonio-Randolph preferred location for first T-X aircraft

The Air Force announced Feb. 21, 2018, that the Advanced Pilot Trainer (T-X) will replace T-38C Talon aircraft at existing undergraduate pilot training bases, with Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph named as the preferred location for the first T-X aircraft scheduled to arrive in 2022.

Read Full Article @ USAF News 

20 February 2018 | Flight Global

US clears RNLAF for $1.19b Apache upgrade deal

The Royal Netherlands Air Force is cleared by the US State Department to buy 28 remanufactured Boeing AH-64E helicopters worth a total of $1.19 billion, the US government announced on 20 February.

Read Full Article @ Flight Global 

20 February 2018 | Lockheed Martin

First Sikorsky HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter Enters Final Assembly

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, is beginning final assembly of the first HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter, [...] This Engineering Manufacturing Development (EMD) aircraft is the first to be assembled at the Sikorsky headquarters in Stratford, Connecticut. A total of nine aircraft will be built in Connecticut during the EMD phase of the program ― four EMD aircraft and five System Demonstration Test Articles (SDTA). The U.S. Air Force program of record calls for 112 helicopters to replace the Air Force's aging HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters, which perform critical combat search and rescue and personnel recovery operations for all U.S. military services.

Read Full Article @ Lockheed Martin 

12 February 2018 | Flight Global

USAF plans to consolidate bomber fleet to B-21 and B-52

The US Air Force has confirmed plans to re-engine the Boeing B-52H fleet and retire the Northrop Grumman B-2 and the Rockwell B-1 as Northrop s next-generation B-21 stealth bomber ramps up deliveries.

Read Full Article @ Flight Global 

19 January 2018 | ACC

A-10 returns as a single-ship demonstration

hile all members of Davis-Monthan AFB have maintained our mission of sustaining attack airpower, a select group of Airmen have been preparing for an additional mission; demonstrating the capabilities of the A-10C Thunderbolt II. The A-10C Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team will perform demos for the first time in seven years for the 2018 air show season. The A-10 will be one of three single-ship aerial demonstration teams in Air Combat Command.

Read Full Article @ ACC 

14 January 2018 | Airbus Helicopters

First Tiger HAD retrofit delivered to the French Army Aviation

The first of 36 retrofits ordered by the French Ministry of Defence

Read Full Article @ Airbus Helicopters